Election Commission of India organised in New Delhi today a day-long conference of Chief Electoral Officers of all States/UTs. The Officers were invited to deliberate on learnings from the recently concluded General Elections to the Lok Sabha 2019.
While lauding the performances of all the CEOs, Chief Election Commissioner Shri Sunil Arora noted that the recent Elections threw up a fair share of challenges for the Officers to strive to conduct free and fair elections. Taking note of diverse unexpected situations like that of Nizamabad unprecedented EVM arrangements, Odisha's challenge amidst inclement weather, etc., CEC complemented the officers of successfully managing the gigantic exercise. Sh Arora asked the State CEOs to particularly now focus on simplification of processes from voters' perspective. He noted that conducting Elections in a diverse country like India has its specific State wise challenges. He advised the CEOs to suggest ways to strengthen the CEO and DEO offices so as to be able to meet the ever evolving requirements. He asked them to focus on the implementation plan – in particular the action to be taken at various levels i.e. ERO, RO, CEO and ECI Secretariat.
The Commission has formed Nine working groups of CEOs and Commission Officers covering various facets of election process including Electoral Roll issues, Polling Stations management, MCC, Voting processes & Materials inventory, Capacity Building, IT applications, Expenditure Management, SVEEP and Media interface as also Electoral Reforms. All the groups will deliberate on the concerned subjects and will suggest feasible recommendations by August 2019. Individual CEOs would also be submitting their respective State experiences report also.
Addressing the group, Election Commissioner Shri Ashok Lavasa said while the ECI system has well documented and codified procedures for conducting the Elections, the Officers need to adapt technology in measuring up to expectations of the Voters in achieving ease of registration and facilitate participation particularly. He asked the CEOs to come up with short-term, medium term and long term doable administrative and legal recommendations needed for bettering the Electoral system.
Election Commissioner Shri Sushil Chandra highlighted the 2019 Election that saw many innovations as also challenges. Shri Chandra said a quantum jump and not just incremental jump is needed to see further improvements in the system. He emphasised that strides made in technology need to be harnessed to make voting not just an inclusive experience but a pleasurable experience.
The Commission thanked and congratulated all CEOs, ECI officers, field election staff for successful conduct of GE 2019. It was mentioned that ECI shall provide all resources from IIIDEM for completion of this exercise by the Working Groups.